The Archaeology of Temple Conversion II: Silifke

Another temple conversion featured in Richard Bayliss’ new book is the temple of Zeus in Silifke, ancient Seleucia ad Calycadnum. It is not as well preserved as the temple of Zeus Olbios, but it is a lot easier to get to, if you ever find yourself in Cilicia (cf. yesterday’s post). Silifke was also home to a large cult of St Thecla.

The temple of Zeus, Silifke, at sunset. Note the stork. Photo: TMK, August 2003.

The temple was excavated between 1980 and 1984 by Çelik Topçu, who has published a number of articles (in Turkish) about his work. It is likely to be the temple of Zeus that is mentioned in the Life and Miracles of Saint Thecla as having been converted by Thecla in the mid-5th century CE and dedicated to St Paul. Its original construction dates to the 2nd half of the 2nd century CE.

R. Bayliss. 2004. Provincial Cilicia and the Archaeology of Temple Conversion.BAR International Series 1281. Oxford.

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